Have you ever lost someone that was near and dear to you? We mourn in different ways depending on the relationship we had with the deceased. There is no denying that losing a husband and a daughter must feel like the end of the world for Vanessa Bryant.
Also, we all mourn differently because, well, we are different people. Some people need to be surrounded by other people during such times, while others isolate themselves from the world around them. I definitely belong to the latter group. It is my preference to deal with things on my own instead of making others uncomfortable. Let us face it – no one really knows what to say when someone dies. No matter how much we try to empathize, there is always something we should or should not have said to a grieving person.
A month after a basketball superstar – Kobe Bryant, his daughter, the helicopter pilot, a baseball coach with his wife and daughter, a basketball coach, and a mother-daughter duo have died in a helicopter crash, a memorial took place. Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Michael Jordan, and Shaquille O’Neal are only some of the celebrities that were in attendance and performed on stage to celebrate the life of Kobe and his daughter. Beyonce requested that no photos of her be taken during the memorial. While some people think that she is trying to ensure that no less-than-flawless photographs of her are taken, others believe that she made that request to have people focus on the Kobe family instead of her. No other performer made such a request.
While Beyonce’s choice is definitely questionable, there is another one that I found interesting. Apparently, per Bryant’s lawyer, Vanessa requested that the crash site be deemed a no-fly zone back in January. We do not know how long she wanted it to be kept that way. The reason why she asked for that was to keep paparazzi away from the helicopter crash site. She did not want anyone making money off of the tragedy.
Whether this was or was not implemented, there were still some photos of the site (and remains) that circulated around, and which made the grieving widow and mother even more upset. Allegedly, the photos were discovered when a deputy showed them to a woman at a bar. Another person saw it and launched an official complaint.
“This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families (…) We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated,” – can be read in a post on Vanessa’s Instagram.
Chances are that you would not like the photos of your deceased loved ones circulating on the Internet. It is a display of basic human decency, privacy, and respect not to “show off” pictures of mangled bodies. This makes me think back to this weekend when I was driving and hit a bit of traffic. The app I used for navigation showed there was an accident up ahead. Another one. I took a deep breath and shifted my leg onto the break pedal. Gas, break, gas, break. It went like that for a few minutes before we moved towards the “blue” (smooth traffic). Surprisingly enough, there was no road block. The accident was off to the side. Once we passed the two cars, the foot was taken off the break. Why was there traffic in the first place? People were rubber-necking. We are always curious to see how gory things can get.
After the helicopter crash occurred, many people voiced their displeasure with the media coverage of Kobe and his daughter. While nine people have died, the media only focused on the two. I can only imagine the way the families of the other seven deceased people felt when their loved ones appeared to be a second thought to the majority of people. Back then, they might have felt slightly jealous of all the attention and support Vanessa Bryant had received.
There is a lot of support celebrities get during such tough times that we, average folk, will probably never get to experience. However, there is a bad side to that – decreased privacy. Because people often feel like the celebrities are a part of their lives, they try to make themselves a part of theirs. Yes, I think some photos are taken for shock value and bragging rights, but otherwise, I think people are trying to empathize and mourn in their own way.
Death is rarely easy. We hyperventilate not knowing how to handle it. That is normal. Trying to control everything around us as we mourn is a futile task. Some people will take advantage of us, but most will only be faulted for misguided attempts at relating to us.
I think making the area around the helicopter crash a no-fly zone would be a little much. How wide would the zone have to be to satisfy Vanessa? How would that influence helicopters and planes in the area carrying passengers who do not care about photographing the site? It is another perfect example of trying to control people’s actions without getting to the root of the problem. If no one was interested in seeing photos of dead celebrities, no pictures would be taken.
Being famous means forgoing a big chunk of your privacy. It might not be your favorite perk, but it is an occupational hazard one has to take on. Why would you think that stops when something negative happens? Families ask for privacy when their loved one struggles with addition or dies. I am all about honoring their rights and supporting them during their tough times (just like I would any other family). However, I believe that the burden is on them and not us. There are ways to protect your privacy. Do it.
Did you watch the memorial? Yes/No? Why/Why not?
Why do you think Beyonce made the decision to not allow photographs?
If you were Beyonce, would you ban photos at such an event?
How do you grieve?
How much privacy do you think celebrities should be given?
Do you think Vanessa’s request for a no-fly zone should have been accepted?
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